Gospel Reflection the Second Sunday Ordinary Time Year C – Migrant and Refugee Sunday – January 17th 2016
There was a wedding at Cana in Galilee. The mother of Jesus was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited. When they ran out of wine, since the wine provided for the wedding was all finished, the mother of Jesus said to him, ‘They have no wine’. Jesus said ‘Woman, why turn to me? My hour has not come yet.’ His mother said to the servants, ‘Do whatever he tells you.’ There were six stone water jars standing there, meant for the ablutions that are customary among the Jews: each could hold twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to the servants, ‘Fill the jars with water’, and they filled them to the brim. ‘Draw some out now’ he told them ‘and take it to the steward.’ They did this; the steward tasted the water, and it had turned into wine. Having no idea where it came from – only the servants who had drawn the water knew – the steward called the bridegroom and said; ‘People generally serve the best wine first, and keep the cheaper sort till the guests have had plenty to drink; but you have kept the best wine till now’.
This was the first of the signs given by Jesus: it was given at Cana in Galilee. He let his glory be seen, and his disciples believed in him.
In the letter announcing this Sunday as Sunday for migrants and refugees, Pope Francis recall that “welcoming the stranger” is a corporal work of mercy. In this year of mercy our response to the huge suffering of people who leave home not because they want to but because they have to. We think of those who have come to our own country, and those of our families who have found they have to leave home.
It is God himself who says that we are to welcome the stranger because ‘you ourselves were once strangers’. Refugees and asylum-seekers are our brothers and sisters. The provisions we offer should be food, shelter, not a centre for keeping them apart for years.
“Migrants and refugees challenge us. The response of the Gospel of mercy.’ writes the Pope. Remembering our own families who left us in very bad times will open our hearts to those like them who are among us.
The Pope continues: Let us open our eyes and see the misery of the world, the wounds of our brothers and sisters who are denied their dignity, and let us recognise that we are compelled to heed their cry for help’. Many of them left home brutalised and tortured and know that this is what awaits them if they have to return home. Pope Francis has been known for his consistent love for those who have had to leave home, as his own family experienced. This is one of Jesus’ loudest cries today – can we allow ourselves hear it?
Lord, help me hear the cry of the poor, the child, the asylum seeker and refugee. It is your cry.
Donal Neary SJ
Fr Donal Neary SJ is editor of the Sacred Heart Messenger